Be Prepared -
The Pros & Cons
Non-Lethal Self-Defense Weapons
Copyright © 2006-2007 Brodie Abbot
In today's world, there are many means by which people can protect
themselves. When thinking about self-defense, many people only consider
martial arts or firearms. In truth, these are only two options from an
array of self-defense mechanisms available.
Through increased use in recent years, the advantages and
disadvantages of stun guns, tasers, and pepper spray have become clear.
All three items offer non-lethal means of protection, but one of them
may be more appropriate than the others in a given situation. It is
important to investigate the pros and cons of each product before
deciding which may be the most viable option for you.
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Many people confuse stun guns with tasers, but the weapons
are quite different. A stun gun is a small, handheld item that must make
physical contact with the attacker in order to work. The gun utilizes two
small probes that, once in contact with an attacker's skin, release a high
voltage, low amperage charge. This charge will temporarily disable an
attacker for several minutes, allowing you to escape to safety.
Pros- Stun guns do not rely on pain to stop the attacker, but instead simply
stun the attacker, so that their voluntary muscle control ceases
temporarily. Both pepper spray and a taser will inflict severe pain upon the
attacker; the stun gun does not. Stun guns are inexpensive and small-they
can be held in the palm of your hand. The shock will not transmit to you if
you are in contact with the attacker, so it is very difficult to
accidentally use it on yourself during an attack.
Cons- The biggest downside to a stun gun is that you must be close enough to
your attacker to touch him. This will mean, consequently, that he will be
close enough to reach out and grab you as well.
should not be confused with stun guns; a taser can be effective from up
to fifteen feet away. A taser shoots two probes that penetrate the skin
of an attacker, anchoring themselves at a depth of about three-eighths
of an inch. Once the probes have attached, you can pull the trigger.
Electrical charges will be sent from the taser through the body of the
attacker, rendering him immobile. It is not essential, however, that the
probes penetrate the assailant's skin; a taser current can jump up to 2
inches and still render its target immobile.
Tasers use a timing feature that delivers an initial shock for about 7
seconds; this is followed by shock waves every one-and-a-half seconds
afterward. These periodic jolts keep the attacker from regaining his
wits and removing the taser probes from his skin.
Pros- With a taser, you can disable an attacker from up to 15 feet away.
This means that you do not have to be close enough to touch the
attacker, as required with a stun gun. Tasers are commonly used by the
police force, and much research has been completed on their efficiency.
They are an effective means of self-defense, especially when used
against someone who threatens use of a knife or blunt weapon, as you are
able to maintain a safe distance from them.
Cons- Some people do not like the idea of using tasers because they
deliberately cause pain to the attacker. For many people, the idea of
shocking a person to incapacitation is hardly appealing. While quite
rare, there has been the occasional report of death from taser shock,
increasing the potential liability when using this weapon. These cases
of death, however, generally occurred when the attacker had a history of
health problems (such as heart trouble). People who use the taser can
become additionally harmed, if the assailant regains their senses and
removes the probes in order to continue their attack.
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The technical name for pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), and it
delivers burning sensation to the attacker when sprayed into his face.
Pros- Pepper spray is effective from 6-8 feet away, giving plenty of
distance between victim and attacker. Pepper spray is a non-lethal product
that will render the attacker virtually harmless for anywhere from 20-30
minutes. Once an attacker washes his face off with water, the burning
sensation will, for the most part, cease. Pepper spray is available in many
different containers-small canisters can be attached to key rings. Pepper
spray is inexpensive and widely available.
Cons- Unfortunately, problems can arise when using pepper spray, especially
when the wind direction does not cooperate. If you are attacked outdoors on
a windy day, the spray may blow back into your own face when you aim for
your attacker. Also, if your attacker sees the stream of spray coming, he
may be able to avoid it. Pepper spray comes with a locking mechanism on the
trigger to prevent accidental discharges; as a downside, this mechanism can
sometimes be difficult to disengage.
Now that you know the pros and cons of these non-lethal self-defense tools,
it is up to you to decide which one would be the best choice for you to use.
Much of this depends on what you are comfortable with handling. Be sure to
test each product to make sure that you know how to properly operate it once
you buy it. The worst thing you could do is to pull out your self-defense
tool in a jam, and then not be able to operate it. The assailant might
become incensed enough to use your self-defense tools against you, once they
have taken advantage of your inability to operate the equipment. This is
where that Boy Scouts of America motto really comes into play, "Be
About the Author:
Specializing in self-defense and personal protection advice, Brodie Abbot writes
for PenCircles.com and other websites. When you are in the market to buy Pepper
Spray, Stun Guns, Tasers, security equipment, and other personal protection
NOW is the time to share this information with every neighbor and
form a neighborhood group that can help each other. Anarchy and riots could break out and law enforcement agencies may be operating sporadically if at all as we have witnessed in New Orleans.
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